State Historical Society revisits 1910 census

With the 2010 census under way, the South Dakota State Historical Society thought it might be interesting to take a look back at the 1910 census.

“It’s interesting to see how South Dakota has changed in 100 years,” said state archivist Chelle Somsen in a news release. “For example, Lead was the third-largest town in the state in 1910.” Today, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates, Lead — once a bustling mining town — is now the 24th-largest city in the state.

Other statistics of note from the 1910 census include:

  • The total population of South Dakota was 583,888 in 1910, an increase of a little more than 182,000 from 1900
  • South Dakota had only 13 cities with more than 2,500 inhabitants and 222 towns with populations less than 2,500 in 1910
  • The number of inhabitants in the larger cities included Sioux Falls (14,094), Aberdeen (10,753) and Lead (8,392).  Not surprisingly, South Dakota counties with the largest populations were Minnehaha (29,621), Brown (25,867), and Lawrence (19,694)
  • Of 583,888 South Dakotans counted in the 1910 census, 96.6 percent were white and 3.4 percent were listed as American Indian and other races
  • There were 317,112 males and 266,766 females; 50.5 percent of males age 15 or more were married, compared with 63 percent of females 15 or older
  • The average family had 4.5 members
  • The native population in 1910 (those born in the United States) for South Dakota totaled 483,098 inhabitants, with 53.4 percent of them born outside of South Dakota and coming from states such as Iowa (75,815), Illinois (32,360), and Wisconsin (31,210)
  • A little more than 1,000 South Dakotans were born in foreign countries, with many immigrating from Germany (21.4 percent), Norway (20.8 percent) and Russia (13.1 percent)
  • The 1910 census listed 77,644 farms in South Dakota. Two-thirds of those farms either had total acreage between 100 to 174 acres (28,396) or 260 to 499 acres (24,811)
  • The average farm had 335.1 acres, valued at an average of $34.69 per acre
  • Of those farms that reported, 91.2 percent had horses, 83.8 percent had cattle and 61.1 percent had swine


Categories: General News, History
Tags: Census

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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